From education to employment

Getting the Inside Scoop on Apprenticeships

When leaving school, teachers may only give you certain options such as either getting a job or continuing study to work towards university. But many young people don’t believe university is the path they want to go down. If you know what career you want to go in, and you might even know which job you want to pursue, going into an apprenticeship could be the perfect way to gain experience and earn a wage while you are learning.

In this article we will be giving you the inside scoop on what apprenticeships involve, what apprenticeships you can do and how doing an apprenticeship can bring you some unexpected benefits.

Why should you do one?

Apprenticeships can be a great way to gain experience on the job while also getting paid a good wage. By being in the workplace, you will benefit from having an expert in the field teaching you first-hand the procedures of that job. Available to anyone aged 16 and above, apprenticeships can last anywhere from 1-3 years depending on the level and qualifications being studied.

Some people may think that you don’t get to do any proper work and that apprentices are just there to make the tea. That is not true. In an apprenticeship you will be given real work to do and you will be making a difference to the business you work in. You will also be able to use your experience to showcase your talents for future opportunities.

Apprenticeships allow you to do many different tasks that let employers see your capabilities. Apprentices are workers and are treated as employees but they can also access student benefits like study facilities and student discounts

You can get an apprenticeship in almost any sector, whether that be education, science, media, business, or construction. Industries you may have previously thought do not offer apprenticeships, probably do. Even if you think you may need a degree to get the job you want, you might not. Employers value the experience you will gain in an apprenticeship and they know you will be able to already do some of the jobs they give you because you have had experience in it before.

Employers that have apprentices in their team say that they are 15 per cent more employable than those with other qualifications. This proves that employers want to employ people who either want an apprenticeship or have been through an apprenticeship because they know they will have valuable skills they can bring to the company.

How will doing an apprenticeship benefit you?

Sixty-five per cent of apprentices were offered a full-time job with their employer at the end of their apprenticeship scheme, meaning that you may not even need to worry about looking for a job when your apprenticeship ends! Furthermore, apprentices who gain a level two apprenticeship are more likely to be employed in a related occupation than those who achieve level two classroom-based study.

At your workplace there will always be someone to support you, whether that be the head of the department you are working in, or a colleague from the HR department. You will get support from your employer as well as the college if you ever need help or are struggling.

Apprenticeships are available at different levels and you can even complete a degree apprenticeship, meaning you’ll achieve a degree while working. Unlike doing a degree, an apprenticeship won’t cost you. You will be in no debt; you won’t have to pay any fees and you will be paid a wage for the skills you learn and the work you do.

Doing an apprenticeship may even greatly improve your chances of promotion within that company. 1 in 5 companies have a former apprentice at board level. This could be amazing for your career coming out of school and going straight into a company you might one day be running. You will have the edge over other employees because you have learnt many areas of the business — from the bottom level to the top, you will have expert knowledge.  

Things you may not know about the weekly schedule of an apprentice

  • Best of both worlds – most of the time you will be in your workplace but one or two days a week you will still be able to have that college lifestyle, making friends with other people that are in apprenticeship similar to yours.
  • Holiday pay – as you are working a real job you will get paid when you take holidays.
  • Not being stuck in the office – in some jobs you may need to travel for your work, whether that be for meetings or to complete tasks.
  • Catchups – you will always get feedback on your work whether that is your apprenticeship work or the work you are doing with your employer. This can be in the form of weekly or monthly catchups where you can site your concerns or tell your employer what you are enjoying doing.

Apprenticeships may not have been something put forward to you by your school, but they are a serious career path to consider as an alternative to university. University can be the right path for some people but not everyone, and even as an apprentice you can still go on to explore degree level education.

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